MILWAUKEE — We are learning more about Officer Peter Jerving from some of his close friends and longtime coworkers.
Before joining the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), Jerving worked for more than 10 years at Western States Envelope and Label in Butler, setting-up and troubleshooting factory equipment.
Barb Kurcz and Mary Lynn Ellis remember the day he started. They had already been working there for 20 years.
“His smile from ear to ear just stood out,” said Kurcz. “He had a laugh to match it. He was so energetic and full of life. He really listened and got to know everyone. People just loved him, and he loved them back.”
“We were kind of his mother hens,” said Ellis. “I used to tell him often that I always felt like he was a son to me. He’d sometimes joke by saying ‘okay mom,’ when we were telling him to do something. He gave me a hug every morning. I loved those hugs.”
They were among the first to know when Jerving got accepted into the police academy.
“I remember when he came to me and said that he had always wanted to be a police officer,” said Kurcz. “I remember I was worried because I know what comes with that job. But I embraced it. He was so happy and really wanted to learn.”
Kurcz and Ellis attended Jerving’s graduation from the police academy and were at the ceremony when he received an MPD Merit Award for helping save someone’s life last year.
“He was so proud to be a Milwaukee Police Officer,” said Kurcz. “He really did love that job and he was that type of person who would run and help anyone who needed it.”
Kurcz and Ellis will never forget surprising Jerving, and his MPD District 4 overnight team, with a meal from everyone at Western States Envelope and Label. They shared a sweet video of the moment. You could see how happy he was.
“He was definitely surprised,” Kurcz said.
Jerving, who was known as a prankster, surprised them a few times too.
“One of my most fun memories of Peter is when I was training someone new on a machine and he visited in his MPD uniform just to say hello, and the girl I was training thought he was there to arrest me,” Kurcz said.
“My way home went through his police district, and there were a couple of times a squad car pulled up behind me and I thought I was getting pulled over for speeding or something,” Ellis said. “But it was just Peter, who recognized me and my car, messing with me. He would just pass by and wave, like busted!”
Kurcz and Ellis are holding on to those happy memories and leaning on each other through this difficult time. Both of them had texted Jerving the morning he was killed.
“We just want his family and fellow officers to know we are here for them,” they said. “We feel their pain and want to support them in every way we can.”
On Wednesday at Western States Envelope and Label, Kurcz, and Ellis were among a group of employees who watched a black flag with a blue line be raised half-staff in honor of their friend who became family, Peter Jerving.